Was in the neighbourhood and thought I’d drop by…

Over the years I’ve done relaxation exercises, self-hypnosis, affirmation exercises, subliminal self-help tapes, and hypnosis experiments out of curiosity, to improve sleep, dream suggestion, stress control, and competitive sport training. Over time I got out of practise as I let the ebb and flow of Life just carry me along in new directions.

While talking with a new acquaintance recently, we got into a brief discussion about dreams and the like, which reminded me of the exercises I used to do. Added to the fact that I’m faced with certain life pressures, stresses, and choices to be made just now, I find a need for the old discipline and focus I once had when I used to train three to six days a week at competitive sport.

Now this is not mediation. Self-hypnosis and affirmation exercises more closely resemble mediation with a specific focus, whereas most Buddhist, Taoist, and Zen monks meditate to lose focus, cease active thought, be the Void in an effort towards finding enlightenment as I understand it. This is not my objective today, though it would be cool on hallow’s eve to walk around with a glowing aura just to freak out the kids.

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Early Risers

With the arrival of summer I try to rise early to walk Baka, run while it is still cool enough to be comfortable, and generally enjoy the dawn before the rest of the world takes notice of the daylight outside. However, no matter how early I try to rise from my slumber and energise my body, there always seems to be a variety of birds that feel the need to publicize the fact the sun is coming around (again) at the very first glimmer of light, like it was a religious epiphany or monumental orgasm.

When it’s just the sparrows and pigeons, that’s not so bad and kind of melodic when they get a good rhythm going, but when the seagulls join in I just wish that my super hero power was the ability to rob them all of their voice, along with people who talk at the theatre.

Internet Friends

I have some really interesting Internet friends, ie. those I’ve meet online first, that have come to be really good friends in real life. Some I’ve only meet once or twice in my life, yet we chat online for hours typically about business, but later we always seem to get into innuendo, off beat humour, and personal issues. You know the sort of conversation you’d have with a mate down at the pub after work.

The strange thing is with Internet friends, which tend to be separated by great distances, you just get a sense of who they are and their character through email, instant messaging, and/or VoIP communications (try Skype or Gtalk). What I find very odd and weird at times when I read email or IM chats from such friends, is I get a sense of the person’s state of mind, like their messages have been imbued with their emotional energy at the time of writing. Some might call it a psychic link, past life connection, instinct, or overly active imagination, but I can’t help think that there might be an extra something there that makes us sensitive to what they have written.

One such friend is April L. who initially contacted me by email about 6 years ago asking me to write her a Sendmail milter for a service she was offering her clients. We communicated by various means email, AIM, ICQ, IRC and over time got into some interesting conversations. A couple of years ago I had occasion to go to San Francisco on business and April L. made a special trip out from the east coast to meet me for the first time. Now there was nothing sexual in the encounter, but the bond of friendship felt between us was like we’d know each other since childhood.

April came to Europe for a business conference in Germany earlier this month with some other friends of hers in tow. Being in Europe, they decided to make a whirl wind tour of Greece, Italy, with a brief two night detour to Golfe Juan, 10m from Cannes, just so that April could renew our friendship and spend a day in Cannes to catch up with me. Must say the hugs we shared spoke volumes.

I have other friends local and far away that are just as well developed and some just starting. Regardless of whether they are new or old, lost or found, virtual or real life, all of them have been a source of good conversation, joy, sadness, and comfort at various times in my life and that I’m proud to call true friends.

Morning cool down

I like to road run early in the mornings, especially when I’ve got the routine going, before the rest of the world creates too much of a ruckuss. Always helps put the day in perspective if you can watch a sun rise, smell the scents of flowers and trees, and the general well being of getting at least one positive thing done, even if the rest of the day doesn’t go so well.

As summer solstice approaches with the days getting longer and warmer, I often find myself having to sit for half an hour in a bath robe following my shower in order to cool down before I can put on clean clothes. I remember the summer of the 2003 heat wave in France, making the mistake of not taking some time to cool off, getting dressed, walking Cotton, and finding that I had to change my clothes once more before driving into work.

Small moments of calm, just sitting, reading email and news, sipping tea, are just as good as running or sitting in a café with a glass of wine. That warm glow, flushed cheeks, and muscles just a little stiff so as to make you sit really still and just be.